The $2.4 million signing of Raymond Felton takes them over the edge.
Free agent point guard Raymond Felton will return to the Oklahoma City Thunder as a reserve guard for the 2018-19. His one-year $2.4 million will push the Oklahoma City Thunder past a historic threshold in terms of league salary. With his signing, The Thunder become the first NBA franchise to surpass the $300 million in payroll, taking them well into the luxury tax. Unless the Thunder shuffle the books, they will be on tap for a $150 million tariff coming into effect at season's end.
Although Felton's signature is linearly responsible for taking his team into the luxury tax, his paltry $2.4 million is chicken feed compared to the enormous deal Paul George signed to stay on, and Carmelo opting into his $27.9 million salary for 2018-2019. Felton proved a consistent performer off the bench in relief of Russell Westbrook for short stretches. His importance to the roster is indescribable at first glance, judging by a report that paints him as an amiable teammate and "a strong part of the team's good chemistry."
Thunder fans may not be pleased to watch management dole out contracts in the millions for a team merely knocking at the door of Western Conference supremacy, but management had very little choice. The thought of management scrounging their bets to offload James Harden in 2012 instead of ponying up a max deal no doubt leaves a bitter taste, and it only gets worse from there.